Cheesy Knockoff

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Cheesy Knockoff #8 Action Team

Oh Boy! Do we have a cheesy classic this week! Continuing our string of "Great GI Joe knockoffs", we're going to take a look at a toy frommage with a mysterious international flavor. ACTION TEAM was sold in Europe and Africa a couple of years ago, and a small quantity of these fellas made their way to the US ( I got mine from Greg Brown at Eklyps—hiya Greg!).

We have a cornucopia of cheese here, with a myriad of knockoffs of different lines that's so obvious that lawsuits would be flying if there were any indication of a manufacturer anywhere on the package. Of course, there isn't. This puppy is totally devoid of anything resembling a manufacturer's identification. But it's made in China—that oughtta narrow it down!

There were six figures offered in this line, and for the most part, they feature a shoddy knockoff of the Classic Collection GI Joe body, with a direct rip-off of a Hasbro head on top. Some feature the CC Blockhead, while others feature the "WWII" head that at the time had only been used on a couple of figures.

The six sets are numbered, not named, so here's a descriptive rundown:

Set one, featuring the WWII head in an odd desert storm camo--this guy comes with black boots, a black crash helmet, machine gun, flashlight, pouch, camera, two hand grenades, one smoke grenade, and a revolver. Instead of a belt, he wears a string of 30mm ammo.

Set two features the CC Blockhead wearing a woodland camo jumpsuit, 21st Century knockoff jungle boots and helmet, and comes with a Luger, binoculars, knife, M-16, an ammo pouch and a belt with holster and sheath. The belt, knife and Luger are all swiped from Hasbro Hall Of Fame era accessories.

Set three is a SWAT guy, dressed all in black, with a pistol, pouch, smoke grenade, knife and map case. This fella comes with HALF of the Hasbro Classic Collection Mortar.

Set number four is a fighter pilot, wearing a knockoff of the Hasbro B-17 pilot's outfit. He sports a flight helmet and gas mask. He also comes armed with a knife, smoke grenade, hand grenade, and rubbery Thompson…and a large shell that looks like it goes with the mortar.

Set number five is a Blockhead knockoff with an oddball camo jumpsuit and an officer's cap. He's armed with a bizarro-looking fantasy gun that's probably ripped off from an Action Man set. He also has a pouch grenade, entrenching tool, knife, binoculars, and a 30mm ammo belt.

Finally, with the sixth set, we have a Blockhead knockoff in woodland fatigues with a BAR, ammo around his waist, a pouch, a knife and a pistol. Plus he has the OTHER HALF of the mortar, and a shell for it as well. Guess they wanted to give you some incentive to "collect 'em all".

The bodies are a mess. simple swivel joints replace Hasbro-style ball-and-socket joints at the waist and wrists. The ankles are very weak, and the whole shebang is held together with screws. There are fourteen holes in the back of this figure for screws. In addition, screws take the place of rivets at the elbows, knees, and ankles. From the back, he looks like he was playing "fetch" on the shooting range.

The heads are such a direct swipe that it seems they may have been stolen from the dumpsters at the Joe factory. They even reproduce the trademark scar. Hey, I wouldn't put my name on this guy either.

The accessories are a mixture of very close copies or swiped molds from both Hasbro's GI Joe, and Twenty First Century Toys' Ultimate Soldier. Some of the bigger guns even have "21st Century Toys" stamped on them. However, these are not exact copies—no no—these use a special hard to break material called "floppy rubber". These are some danged bendable machine guns.

Not content with flaccid weaponry, for some reason certain smaller pieces like ammo pouches and handguns are molded in varying shades of blue. I'm not talking about gun-metal blue. These guys range from stark blue to cobalt blue. Knives, grenades, flashlights, even the camera swiped from the Hasbro set are all molded in this unreal blue.

Keep that in mind in the coming weeks. The strange blue coloring and the body design might give us some clues to some of the other knockoffs in the coming weeks. Could they all be coming from the same factory? We'll have to see. There is one more clue in the packaging: The cardboard is thin, corrugated board, and measures 11 inches wide and 13 1/2 inches tall. It's about two inches deep. The figure is attached to the backing insert with only two twist ties at the waist and ankles, and his arms will swing freely inside the package. Trust me, this all has a bearing on upcoming cheesy knockoffs.

The headgear is all swiped from existing 12" military sets: Hasbro's flight helmet and officer's cap, and 21st's giant Vietnam turtle helmet all turn up in this line.

And there's one more oddity with these guys: The figures are packaged barefoot, with the shoes blister-carded to the backing insert. Maybe they figure that packaging the shoes separately makes it look like there's more accessories, or maybe this is just another sign that Paul is dead—Who knows? Maybe it's the knock company's way of saying that they're "tip-toeing through a minefield" by producing such blatant knockoffs.

They're called "Action Team", but they might as well have called them "Actionable Team". Next time we'll take a look at some carded accesory sets that sure will seem familiar.

Later, Rudy